Attend Stanford University's Mindset Mathematics workshop to increase personal exposure to a variety of math problems and create a positive math culture that encourages creative problem solving.
This fellowship helped me to align the way I teach math with current research; I also feel like this is much more in line with my own philosophy and beliefs about teaching and learning. By participating in this fellowship I became part of a movement, some even call it a revolution. Specifically, I learned how to use problems and tasks to motivate learning; how to make math more visual; how to really promote a growth mindset in math class; and how to affirm that math is for everyone to learn.
Based on my fellowship, I think my teaching will evolve by incorporating more tasks, better facilitating those tasks by talking more openly about mistakes and struggle, making math more visual, and focusing more on big ideas in algebra. Also, I think this fellowship introduced me to incredible resources that I plan to use in the classroom. Finally, extending my own personal learning network helped me realize that I can help to teach other teachers by sharing my learning, ideas, and lesson plans.
There were so many! I ended up connecting with a local organization using the Stanford materials and then running a math summer camp to help me put in to practice what I had started learning. This was an incredible experience and really helped me solidify what I had learned at the YouCubed workshop. One day during lunch I walked around Stanford and found the engineering building, which had several exhibits. My favorite was the original Google server, which was built in a case made out of LEGO
I think that my biggest paradigm shift was realizing two things about students. First, everyone can learn math to high levels. Second, mistakes and struggle are signs of deeper learning. There is a moment the online class when Dr. Boaler tells her students, “I could give you problems that you would get all correct, but you wouldn’t be learning. It might feel good, but you wouldn’t be learning.” This year, my students will engage in much more productive struggle, debate, and deep thinking.
I already did a math camp with some of my students, which was a great experience. It was great to try out the activities and approach and to have time to explore them with students. It was also great to be able to talk to students at lunchtime about their feelings and experiences. This year, I will engage students in dozens of new problem-based tasks, including many activities from YouCubed.
I hope to really impact our school community by moving toward a more growth mindset compatible approach to math. In one of the online classes, Dr. Boaler warns against giving growth mindset messages without backing them up with compatible tasks, projects, and activities. When we tell students to have a growth mindset and then give them worksheets with dozens of practice problems, students still develop a fixed mindset around math. I will share what I have learned with colleagues and parents.
I had so many experiences during this fellowship, and I think that the most transformative aspect of it was to meet people from around the world who are transforming math education. I have a clear vision now of how to incorporate new tasks and activities to make math class more accessible, free, and beautiful, but without sacrificing rigor.
Students benefit from this because this year I will be able to bring more research-based strategies to my students. This whole fellowship was really all about my students: learning how I can better help them to learn math. Also, I think that my students will benefit because I feel more confident in what I am doing in class. By equipping me with new tools and by helping me develop my own teaching philosophy, this fellowship will help students learn more.
Connecting with other teachers, mathematicians, and researchers around the globe is an incredible experience. Especially in math class, it is so easy to see the worksheets, the textbooks, and the standardized test questions and to think that is what math is. This fellowship showed me that math is beautiful, free, creative, interesting, useful, fun, visual, and powerful beyond my expectations. Now, I get to figure out how to share that with my students.